As land available for development in Toronto becomes evermore scarce, the city is beginning to see more proposals for the sprawling and often underused lawns of '70s era towers-in-the-park that permeate the landscape. Noteworthy examples of this new trend include Emerald City and 66 Isabella. The latest such project is at Oak Heights from Linwood Management Corp, to be a mixed use 35-storey tower designed by Sweeny &Co Architects Inc. which is proposed to be built on the lawn to the southeast of 230 Oak Street, just east of Regent Park.

Site plan Oak HeightsSite plan from City of Toronto's preliminary report

With the crystallizing success of the revitalization of Regent Park, it should come as little surprise that adjacent neighbourhoods are seeing increased development pressure. In addition to over 40,000 square feet of office space (on floors 1 to 4), this tower would provide 144 retirement units (on floors 7 to 18) and 204 residential rental units (on floors 19 to 35), which would help to satisfy the growing demand for rental units in the city. Amenity spaces for the residential units are proposed on the fifth and sixth floors.

North elevation Oak HeightsNorth elevation from City of Toronto's preliminary report

Under the scheme, the existing 21-storey building to the northwest would be retained, and its lower floors would be renovated to provide a new daycare facility. This would require removal of 17 parking spaces from the existing underground garage and demolition of eight of the ten existing ground floor residential units, which would be replaced in the new building. A new private driveway off Gerrard Street would service both buildings.

Oak Heights site, in the green space above the Don Valley, image from Apple MapsOak Heights site, in the green space above the Don Valley, image from Apple Maps

Due to concerns regarding height, density, a tower separation of only 9.8 metres, encroachment upon the Don Valley ravine, uses and other issues outlined in the preliminary report, planning staff are unsupportive of the proposal in its current form. Stay tuned with UrbanToronto for further updates as they develop.

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Rami Kozman is a commercial real estate lawyer in Toronto and can be found on Twitter at